The Chicago Bears started the season 0-3, won one, and then lost three straight. Which would almost make one believe they are due for a win against the Minnesota Vikings on Monday, October 31st at Soldier Field. But then one would have to do something that is anathema for people who bet on NFL, and that would be to ignore the online sportsbook odds:
Vikings -4½ (-105) 41 (-105) -205
Bears +4½ (-115) 41 (-115) +175
The Bears (1-6) have about the worse offense in the league, ranking 11th in passing yards (260.7), 17th in total yards (348.6), 25th in rushing yards (87.9), and last in points (15.9) per game. On the Thursday before last, the Green Bay Packers in general and Aaron Rodgers in particular took full advantage of that. Rodgers set at new Packers record for single-game completions, of which at one point he had more than the Bears had offensive plays. With backup Brian Hoyer leaving in the second quarter with a broken left arm, Chicago had to resort to third-string QB Matt Barkley, who went 6 of 15 for 81 yards with no TDs and two interceptions. As fans who bet on NFL might surmise, none of this bodes well for the Bears going up against the Vikes’ defense – one of, if not the best in the league.
Head coach John Fox – who according to reports is “done” with Jay Cutler – will have no choice but to swallow his pride and start Cutler under center against the Vikings. Whether this does more harm than good has yet to be seen. Cutler started the first two games of the Bears’ season before spraining a thumb, and went 28 of 46 (60.9%) for 373 yards with one TD, two interceptions, and eight sacks. On the other hand, Cutler’s days in Chicago seem to be numbered, so Bears fans who bet on NFL could reasonably expect him to play his best in order to attract the attention of other teams for next season. In addition to Cutler, Chicago is also hoping to get running back Jeremy Langford back, who missed action with a sprained ankle.
The Bears have lost six or more games in six consecutive seasons. Wide receivers Alshon Jeffery and Eddie Royal combine for 858 receiving yards and two scores, and Cameron Meredith has 27 catches. Chicago’s running game is averaging 87.9 yards per game, and running back Jordan Howard leads the team with 352 yards and one TD. On defense, the Bears are allowing 24.1 points and 350.4 yards per game. ILB Jerrell Freeman leads Chicago with 65 tackles, OLB Willie Young has six sacks, and CB Tracy Porter has two interceptions. The Bears are 11-4 straight up in their last 15 Monday games, and 1-5 against the spread in their last six home games. The Vikings defense allows the fewest points and yards per game and has forced a league-best 16 turnovers, so backing the Bears on this one is like backing the villain in a Steven Seagal movie.